Friday, November 26, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 23
The Sivar was not the only secret weapon the Kilrathi had been working on during the decade. Early in 2656, the Tiger’s Claw ventured into the corner of the Enigma Sector to investigate Mang Station, and perhaps even destroy it. However, the Kilrathi’s new weapon struck, destroying the Tiger’s Claw and most of its patrolling fighters. Only one survivor was recovered, a Lieutenant Commander Christopher Blair. Some in Confed, such as now Admiral Tolwyn, believed him to be a Mandarin, but this was never proven. Instead, he was banished to in-system patrols in a backwater system (until the war visited that system).
The new weapon, what the Kilrathi call Unseen Death, struck across both the Enigma and Vega Sectors. The Kilrathi’s first target were the three tiresome arsenal ships. The Ragnarok, Epoch and Last Judgement were all destroyed within days of each other. Other losses included lone ships and small patrols, such as the carrier Avenger, Kipling and battleship Ho Chi Minh were destroyed, along with their destroyer and frigate escorts. The attacks were all the same; a distant contact with a Kilrathi cruiser or carrier, and hours later, Confed ships abruptly exploded. Supply and troop convoys, with minimal protection, were lost to the last ship, taking tens of thousands to their death.
A general panic spread across the Enigma Sector as word of these stealth attacks became public knowledge. Commerce ground to a halt as shipping companies refused to launch anything. There was a greater panic along the frontier as millions of civilians tried to leave their worlds, but nobody would take to space with these invisible attackers on the loose. As it turned out, their fears were justified. Behind each of these stealthy strikes came a Kilrathi task force.
Invasion of the Enigma Sector
After years of fighting in the Vega Sector, but 2652, the Kilrathi High Command decided the sector too difficult of a route to Earth. They also noticed the great bulk of Confed’s strength was in the Sector. After several retreats, Confed ships were pulled further from the Sol Sector. As it turned out, the reason for Kilrathi retreats became clear in March of 2656, when the Kilrathi struck in force at Bradbury and Telamon, with a fleet of five carriers each. The reason Confed did not see as many ships at Cairo or Venice as they should have, is because the Kilrathi were preparing a massive flanking attack, with TCN several weeks, if not months, away.
Both systems fell with little resistance, and the Kilrathi wasted no time in fortifying them. The next system to fall was Cabrea, and it put up a stiffer resistance. Confed reacted immediately by ordering half of its Vega Sector fleet to the Enigma Sector. Older ships, such as the three remaining Vanguards, were pulled off escort duty and rushed towards the front. There was some serious talk about putting the old Concordias back into front-line service. Several new ships were quickly launched from ships yards at Mercury and other core worlds, manned with any personnel available regardless of the experience.
Ships from the Epsilon Sector, those that survived Unseen Death, were the first to do battle with the Kilrathi. Concordia and Gettysburg gave the Kilrathi a good fight at Cabrea, before Kilrathi numbers forced them to retreat to Niffleheim. The invasion was not nearly as disastrous as the invasion of the Vega Sector, at the start of the war, but losses were high. Kilrathi advances were slowed because Confed had been at war for more than twenty years. Any hope for the invasion of Enigma Sector to be a shining success as the victories in 2634-9 were quickly dashed by the arrival of van Oranje’s fleet in December at Novaya Kiev.